Fair warning: no pictures today. We left Yakima, Washington headed for Missoula, Montana. By the time we pulled out at around 9:00 local time, the temp was already over 80 degrees. We stopped at the Harley dealer for some t-shirt looking (no buying) and were on our way. The first 100 miles consisted of US highways 24 and 26 The temperature on the bike read 101. I was concerned that we were getting dehydrated from the sun and wind at 65 MPH. The roads were rough – washboard style. The great accomplishment was that we made a phone call using the Bluetooth that is built into the bike’s “infotainment” system. If it had not been an urgent matter, we would never have made the effort – Jana’s library books were due.
We were about 80 miles in to the first 100 and stopped at a small convenience store for more water. It must have been lunch time because the place went from empty to 6 or 7 deep at the check-out. While I was waiting in line I noticed the cars outside. The Washington plates bear the state nickname – The Evergreen State. We had just ridden 80 miles through the driest, non-green scenery you can imagine. The Evergreen State must be an inside joke.
On the road for another 20 miles and onto the super-slab. I-395 to I-90 where we spent the rest of the day. It was just as hot as the US highway. I pulled in to a rest stop where a local teachers group had set up refreshments and were asking for small donations if you participated. They had lemonade so I was all over it. They also had a variety of snacks packed in small plastic bags. I chose the ones with pretzels and M&M’s thrown in together. Let me tell you at 100 degrees the M&M slogan falls apart – they do melt in your hand long before you can get them in your mouth.
We crossed from Washington to Idaho and it was time to stop again. I chose a small café that I found on the GPS (Sam’s Café decorated with Route 66 items). The server had just taken our order when 5 or 6 car loads of people decided to join us for lunch. They were participants in some kind of bicycle event. I thought they were there to watch the Indiana bikers melt in the summer sunshine.
As we moved along I-90, the temperature began to get a little more bearable. It went from 101 down to 95. Still hot but it helped a lot. The elevation kept going up and the temp going down. It was now down to 88 and I was a lot happier. It didn’t stop there. I watched as the temp dropped from 88 to 81 then 75. Jana was trying to keep her hands out of the air blast so I knew she was getting cold riding only with a long sleeve shirt over her blouse for wind protection. I pulled over and we put jackets on. I did that more because of threatening skies than anything else. That turned out to be a good move. Within the next 10 miles the temperature dropped to 66. The rain had held off long enough and we were getting damp. It was not a downpour but we knew the rain was happening.
I ran as long as I could go before pulling in for gas about 5 miles from our final destination – Missoula. The skies were really dark but the bike was certainly in need of gas. I was seeing lightening as we raced the last 5 miles to the hotel. As we pulled in to the parking lot at the hotel the skies were black and the thunder was rolling. I think this is the fastest we ever unloaded our luggage off of the bike. We were in for the night. (It still hasn’t rained as I write this.)
I spent an hour trying to find a motel room in Billings, MT for tomorrow night. I ended up finding something at a very expensive rate but I was getting desperate. There must be a Quilting Convention in Billings tomorrow.
We had survived a 35 degree temperature swing. I’m worn out. Tomorrow is another day.